15 June 2011

Should I Buy a Google Chromebook?

The answer's maybe.


I'm a huge Google fan. I've been watching Chrome OS for over a year. But, if you ask me, the initial offering (the Samsung Series 5) falls a little short. I'd say the most important features of a netbook/notebook/tablet are weight, price, and battery life. Well look at this:


macbook
Pro
Asus
eeePC
chrome 
Series 5
chrome 
Cromia
macbook
Air
iPad
Weight
4.5 lbs3.9 lbs3.25 lbs3.2 lbs2.3 lbs1.33 lbs
Display
13.3”10”12.1”11.6”11.6”10”
Price
$1200-$1500$230-$330$430-$500$350-$430$1000-$1200$500-$830
Battery
7 hrs.11 hrs. 8.56 hrs.5 hrs.10 hrs.

The MacBook Air is MUCH LIGHTER. The Asus eeePC is MUCH CHEAPER. And the iPad (which is much lighter still) has WAY MORE BATTERY LIFE.

Granted, I'm comparing Chromebooks against 3 other contenders. But it should be the leader in all these categories. Because it's not a full OS, it needs strong pros to outweigh the cons. And if it's not excelling in this categories, that's a problem.

If you're okay with how the Chromebooks stand on the chart, you also need to know that a Chromebook only has the internet. That means you have to use Google Docs exclusively (or Microsoft's online editor). I'm a writer, and I use GDocs daily--I have no problem with that. But just make sure you know what you're getting into. (E.g. GDocs is still missing features like headers with page numbers and your last name.) 

Granted, there are some great webapps out there, like Pixlr.com, GrooveShark.com, and Music.google.com. But many of the kinks of cloud-computing are not smoothed out yet. (To be fair though, you're going to face those with EVERY OS.) 

Now for some pros. The Chromebook Series 5 has great hardware. It has a sleek chasis design, a GIANT trackpad, a SUPER-BRIGHT screen, and it's not nearly as heavy as your current machine (I'm pretty sure). It also boots super fast, and is extremely secure. In fact, if you're a minimalist, this machine's probably right up your alley. 

The Bottom Line: 
If you're daring and tech savvy, jump right in. Otherwise, you may want to test how well you can survive in a browser before you jump in with both feet. 

And I hope we see cheaper, lighter, smarter Chromebooks soon.